RPGs with puzzle mechanics feel like the perfect fit for mobile. There’s something about a game that moves at a gentile pace while having a somewhat predictable-yet-challenging set of mechanics that can morph as you progress through some kind of grand adventure that feels right at home in your pocket.
With the recent release of Hero Emblems II, I thought it’d be good to revisit some of the absolute best puzzle RPGs that iOS has to offer, just in case you missed out on some of these incredible titles.
Continuing the trend begun last year, I wanted to model some Game of the Year awards through categories in addition to simply ranking my personal favorites. Between now and the dawn of 2022, I'll be updating this page regularly with new entries for each category, so make sure to check in and see what titles win which awards.
For each of these categories, I'll choose a winner and mention some notable runner-ups. Any game nominated or chosen for any of these cateories is then eligible for the final category, Best Game, which is the culminating category where I will construct a ranked list of my favorite games from this year.
MOBAs are a game genre that have almost everything working against them. at least on paper. They’re highly competitive and demanding multiplayer games where every player’s performance and abilities matter in determining the outcome of a match. Match lengths are pretty long, too, and if anyone rage-quits, the momentum of a match swings hard in favor of the team with more players.
All of these problems are exacerbated on mobile, where people are used to short play sessions in games they can drop in and out of. This is probably the reason why the turnover of games in this genre is so high on smaller screens. With the release of League of Legends: Wild Rift, we took a look on the App Store to find the best MOBAs that still have active communities. Check out our picks below.
I’ll be honest here: I’m not a huge fan of conventional tower defense games. I almost always need a twist of some kind on the basic gameplay of building defensive structures and managing an economy of resources to fend off stronger and stronger enemies. Otherwise, games too often feel a little too sterile or straightforward.
This is to say that this list features only one game that most folks would unquestionably call a tower defense game. The rest are more like titles that borrow concepts and mechanics of the tower defense genre and use them to creative effect. With that in mind, check out the list below:
This is the conventional pick. Ironhide Studio has been consistently raising the bar on tower defense games for years, with Kingdom Rush Vengeance being their latest and most successful attempt. In it, you take control of the baddies from all the previous Kingdom Rush games to get your due against the knights and heroes that have done you wrong for so long.
Action games are a hard sell on mobile, and they get even harder if the more precision they require. Stealth games are one such subgenre that just doesn’t feel like it could work well on small touchscreens where you’re prone to being distracted or mistapping by accident.
And yet, that hasn’t stopped plenty of developers of rising to the challenge to make some great stealth action games to enjoy on iOS. Here are our five favorites below, along with links to reviews so you can learn more about them.
Ports or coversions of games from one platform to another can be quite tricky. This is especially true when porting games to phones and tablets, as these titles have to be designed with workable touch controls and account for smaller screen sizes.
It’s rare these days for a console or PC game to grace the App Store in a totally unplayable state, but it can be hard to find games that make their transition to mobile look easy. It’s even rarer when a mobile port comes out and it’s just so dang slick it feels better than it did on its original platform, but these games exist. Here are five of them:
Every year, I always honor my favorite mobile games by highlighting some of my favorites. For this year, I'd like to try to do more than just say "hey, these games are fun." So, with some inspiration from other Game of the Year honors from around the web, I've assembled a few categories of video game honorifics to bestow on the mobile games that most deserve it.
In the coming days, be sure to check in to see nominees and winners picked from this list as we count down the final days of the horrid year known as 2020.
Supergiant Games finally released Hades upon the world this week, and we’re loving it. The game plays to all of the studio’s strengths while still retaining a strong sense of identity. It also just so happens to play rather well using the Steam Link.
If you don’t have Hades, a PC or console that can run it, or perhaps have already blazed through it, try these mobile games that can give you some of the great blend of style and action that makes Supergiant’s latest so good.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 dropped last week, meaning you can get remastered versions of two of the most iconic “sports” games ever made and experience some of the highest watermarks set in games of generations’ past.
There aren’t many new games like the Tony Hawk titles these days, and even attempts to re-capture the magic of earlier games in the series tend to go awry. That said, if you do want somewhat fresh and mobile takes on arcade, trick-based gameplay, here are our top picks.
Touch screens and action-oriented gameplay don't typically mix, but over the course of pondering the best platformers on mobile, I found myself having a really hard time picking just five. Quite a few developers have found really creative ways to make games that require quick reflexes and precision feel perfectly enjoyable on your phone or tablet.
The Last of Us Part II is set to come out this week, but review scores have already been rolling in to pump up excitement for the latest entry in Naughty Dog’s expensive-looking apocalyptic survival horror series. Generally speaking, the game has already received near universal praise for its technical prowess, it’s a little less clear whether its story and tone will be as successful.
Some of this is due to the review embargo Naughty Dog has put in place around The Last of Us Part II, which has restricted critics from writing about the game in its entirety. Outside of that, there has been also heavy discussion among writers about how the game’s tone feels overly brutal and needlessly bleak, particularly since these aspects are seemingly being used in order to raise the same tired questions about player agency and violence that have been explored repeatedly in over a decade’s worth of “prestige” games.
To kick off Clash Royale's twelfth season, we thought it would be fun to start a new feature for the game where we rank cards. And what better cards to start with than the oh-so-rare Legendaries that can really transform the kinds of decks you can make in the game.
For the record, these cards are being ranked based on their overall utility in a variety of different deck types. Don't assume you can make a deck using all the top picks here and do well. You still need to make a balanced deck to see victory, just know that the higher tier cards here can help you do that more easily.
Real-time strategy games feel like they’d be a perfect fit for mobile, but they’re trickier to pull off that you might think. The traditional mold of base-building and micro management can work on touch screens, but needs to be carefully honed so that it doesn’t end up too overwhelming.
With KartRider Rush+ making a splash this past week, we figured it was high time we updated our list of the best mobile racing games out there. From realistic racing sims to futuristic arcade racers (and even racing management games!), check out our top picks for the absolute best games for those with a need for speed.
In case you missed it yesterday, Tencent and Activision announced they are putting out a new Call of Duty game for mobile. While details are pretty scant, they did put out a trailer (see above) and have a page where you can pre-register for the game, which might give you in-game rewards when the game actually launches.
Based on what's shown in the trailer, it looks to be a no-nonsense attempt to shoehorn every facet of mainline CoD games into a mobile package, which could be good. Though personally, I have my doubts. There are already precious few first-person shooters on mobile that are any good at all. Many of the best ones, like Call of Duty: Strike Force, have disappeared off the App Store completely. Meanwhile, things like Modern Combat 5 persist, which is a prime example of how to faithfully recreate the feeling of a big budget shooter on mobile while also leaning heavily into every worst tendency of free-to-play mobile design.
In light of all this news and speculation, I decided to dig back into our archives here and pull up a list of the best shooters on mobile. Many of these are not first-person shooters, mind you (as most of the good ones of those are gone), but they can still scratch your shooter fix while we all wait and see if Call of Duty Mobile is any good or not.